Manchester United -v- Liverpool
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 2 May 2021, KO 16:30 BST
Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson
VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood
Manchester United go back to Premier League action on Sunday when they welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford. This will be the second time the reigning Premier League champions will have visited the Theatre of Dreams, losing 3-2 in the Emirates FA Cup a week after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side have seemingly fallen off their perch almost immediately after they climbed upon it, falling out of the running to retain their title, which is seemingly set to be claimed by Manchester City. United though will be seeking to confirm their second-placed finish in the league under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United were in action on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg, facing AS Roma at Old Trafford. United opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Bruno Fernandes but gave away a penalty five minutes later with Roma scoring another with 11 minutes of the first half left to play. United then scored five second half goals with Fernandes completing a brace, Edinson Cavani scoring a brace and Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood scoring the others. Liverpool were not in action since last weekend, so could be fresher for this match but as we saw against Leeds last weekend, there is no guarantee that it will help.
Manchester United: WDWWWW
AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D, Burnley 3-1 W, Granada 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W, Granada CF 2-0 W
Newcastle United 1-1 D, Leeds United 1-1 D, Real Madrid 0-0 D, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Real Madrid 3-1 L, Arsenal 3-0 W
Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes has 26 goals for United this season with Mohamed Salah having 29 to his name. Both players will be seeking to be on the scoresheet at the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United Goals: 26 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Edinson Cavani, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek
In their last six matches, United are undefeated – winning five times and drawing once. Solskjaer’s side have scored a total of 16 goals, conceding four and keeping three clean sheets. The second half performance against Roma will be a problem for Liverpool if United are still in the same mood after going 2-1 down in the first half on Thursday. This is where Liverpool will need to be wary as United are a different team than the one that turned up against them over the past few seasons. It is Liverpool that are now the team who are likely to be dejected with no hunt for a trophy this season and United in with a chance of winning one. Jealousy.
Liverpool Goals: 29 – Mohamed Salah, 13 – Sadio Mané, 12 – Diogo Jota, 6 – Roberto Firmino, 4 – Curtis Jones, Takumi Minamino, 3 – Georginio Wijnaldum, 2 – Trent Alexander-Arnold, 1 – Marko Grujic, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Divock Origi, Andrew Robertson, Xherdan Shaqiri, Virgil van Dijk
In their last six matches, Liverpool have been in poor form which is great to see. They have two wins, three draws and one defeat – scoring eight goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets. How the mighty have fallen so soon. The Liverpool supporters will state that injuries have cost them this season, but when other clubs fans have said they same, they mocked them. It seems to be one rule for Liverpool and one rule for everyone else. If you ask United supporters which team they hate the most, Liverpool will be the answer. There is a great rivalry between the clubs but right now, despite the recent past, United are still on top.
Team News: No new injuries for United ahead of the clash with Liverpool, who are set to see upto seven players miss this important match.
Phil Jones (knee) and Anthony Martial (knee) are the only two injury doubts ahead of this weekend’s clash with Liverpool in the Premier League. United will be boosted with the performance against Roma on Thursday evening, coming from 2-1 down to win 6-2. Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw worked hard to put United on the front foot once again in the match, after taking the lead in the ninth minute. The fact that Dean Henderson, Amad Diallo, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek and Eric Bailly will still be fresh for the clash with Liverpool is a big bonus. The same can be said for Liverpool’s current form.
Virgil van Dijk (knee), Divock Origi (muscular), Caoimhin Kelleher (abdominal tear), Joe Gomez (knee), Joel Matip (ankle/foot) and Jordan Henderson (groin/hip/pelvis) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford to face United on Sunday. Nathaniel Phillips (hamstring strain) has a 25% chance of being fit for the match, which is a big doubt so Jurgen Klopp will probably be without him this weekend too. Liverpool’s current form is not the greatest positive for them at this time with United’s resurgence, especially when behind, showing their true ability, unless you are one of the fans that suggest there is no positivity at the club right now.
Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to keep his place leading the line for United against Liverpool?
Solskjaer may need to make some changes for this match with it being important for United to keep their chase on a second-placed finish in the Premier League this season, but also to keep one eye on the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg in Rome on Thursday. Edinson Cavani should keep his place in the team as he will be at a level whereby he will be confident of scoring more goals amid rumours of his contract being extended at the Theatre of Dreams. Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Donny van de Beek and Daniel James could also start, after being rested against Roma on Thursday evening, which gives United many different options.
Match Prediction: 58 matches played between United and Liverpool in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawn 15 and lost 15. Who will be the victors this weekend?
United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?
Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.
Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool
Written by John Walker